Daschle won’t run in 2008

Associated Press

Associated Press

Former Senate minority leader Tom Daschle said he’s decided against a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008.

The three-term South Dakota senator, who lost a re-election bid in 2004 to Republican John Thune, had visited Iowa and New Hampshire this summer to gauge support.

He said Saturday that he was gratified by the level of support, but said it’s not the time to consider running for the presidency.

“In large measure it is because I enjoy what I am doing now. I enjoy private life.”

He works with a Washington, D.C. law firm and teaches at Georgetown University.

Daschle, who turns 59 on Saturday, said he will continue to speak out on issues and will be involved in “policy and politics.”

“While I expect that I will stay involved in public life for a long time to come and while I could re-enter public life and an elected position at some point in the future, I like what I’m doing right now, and I made the decision not to run,” Daschle said.

He disclosed his decision to reporters as he prepared to speak at a program honoring the outgoing president of SDSU.

Longtime Daschle aide Steve Hildebrand said Daschle’s announcement was unexpected. He said Daschle planned to tell reporters about his decision later this week.

Hildebrand said Daschle had not been actively working to prepare for a presidential campaign.

“I think, in part, folks who are thinking about a presidential campaign know that they have to raise at least $50 million to be highly competitive just to win the nomination, and I think that’s a very daunting process,” Hildebrand said.

He said another factor in Daschle’s decision is that Democrats will control both the House and Senate next year and will have a better ability to control the national agenda.

#1.883915:2236809837.jpg:Daschle_Miller.jpg:Former Senator Tom Daschle was at SDSU during President Peggy Gordon Miller’s retirement party Saturday, Dec. 2.:Submitted Photo